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BRUSSELS — Three years ago this month simultaneous bomb attacks struck trains in Madrid. Islamist terrorists killed 191 people and wounded over 2,000. Last month the suspects went on trial in a Spanish court.

Violent extremists claiming to act in the name of Islam have hit many countries around the world, before and after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on America. But the attacks in Madrid — and in London in July 2005 — showed that Europe is one of their prime targets, prompting European governments to respond by bolstering their defenses, including at the level of the European Union.

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